Project Longshot

Several speakers at the RAS agreed that a starship would not be feasible until such time as human beings had spread through most of Earth’s solar system, and possessed an economy able to command the resources of more than one planet. Whether that day will arrive is an open question. Gregory Benford said that Thomas Jefferson, America’s third president, guessed it might take a thousand years for the American frontier to advance to the Pacific Ocean. Humans are bad at prediction, Dr Benford argued, and often things thought on the edge of possibility happen faster than anyone would have believed.”